“Befriending has had a massive impact on us. It's increased our confidence when interacting with children, and we feel a huge sense of pride when our befriendee gains a new skill or makes progress at school.  As a couple it has been great for us having a shared interest and having our outings to look forward to together.”

Volunteers Catriona and Phil joined Befriend a Child in 2017 as part of our befriending programme. The couple first heard about the opportunity to become befrienders whilst reading a newspaper article about Befriend a Child appealing for volunteers.

We thought it was a shame that so many local children needed befrienders but there weren't enough to go round. We were curious as to what was involved and decided to ask for more information. Once we realised what the purpose of Befriend a Child was and what they have achieved over the years, we felt it was really worthwhile and wanted to be a part of it.”

Catriona and Phil were matched with 7-year-old Adam who was referred to Befriend a Child because he was struggling with his confidence and self-esteem and this was impacting negatively on his behaviour. Due to his childhood experiences, Adam struggled to open up about his feelings and it was hoped that having befrienders would help him to form more trusting relationships with adults.

Catriona and Phil have enjoyed many fun activities with Adam over the years. At the beginning of their befriending relationship, they visited the park or countryside to explore and look for wildlife. Now Jump In and Innoflate are firm favourites, along with horse riding, the cinema, bowling, Codonas and going for a meal.

“Phil and Catriona have helped Adam to trust adults as they have been a consistent presence from the beginning, and he has even opened up more. He will tell them things he doesn’t even tell me. We couldn’t have asked for better befrienders for Adam and they have helped him tremendously,” Adam’s Great Aunt.

Thanks to his regular outings with Catriona and Phil, Adam’s confidence has increased greatly, and he now feels at ease talking about his feelings with his befrienders. As a result of the new experiences, they have together, Catriona and Phil have also noticed an improvement to Adam’s behaviour, communication and social skills.

“We think that having befrienders who are simply there to have fun with has been good for Adam. There is no pressure and we just enjoy our time together. We have definitely seen a marked difference in our befriendees confidence, behaviour, communication and social skills. Having had this relationship for almost four years, it has been great to watch him mature and grow. If Befriend a Child did not exist, then Adam would have missed out on so many things and he wouldn’t be the young man we know today.”

“Our advice to anyone considering becoming a befriender would be to go for it, it is the most amazing, rewarding experience. The Befriend a Child team support you through the whole process and the training provided is excellent, you are never on your own.”

If you have been inspired by Catriona, Phil and Adam’s story find out more about joining us a volunteer here: